Tag Archive: A Christmas Carol

Love Came Down at Christmas

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Are you ready for Christmas?

I heard that question everyday last week. I will hear it everyday this week until the man in red makes his big arrival.

I am not ready; I am half way there. There are cookies to make and presents to wrap. Then there are those last minute present thingies.

So the best thing to do is procrastinate. Maybe buy some pre-made cookie dough and pretend I made it from scratch. Maybe grab some cute gift bags from the dollar store (I hear Dollar Tree has upped their game) and some tissue paper to create pretty gifts without a lot of corners.

And then there are the movies.

There is no cheating there. I prefer getting movies without annoying commercials – ‘buy the house,’ ‘get the whizbang toy,” ‘get her a car for Christmas?” . Yes, there are previews at the beginning. That is the time I use to get my popcorn ready.

Then I plop down for a watch and at this point in time I have a few movies I must watch. I find myself drawn to the old classics with one exception.

I find that I must watch Love Actually starring the brightest stars of British cinema – Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Love ActuallyAlan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Kierra Knightly, Liam Neesom, and Martin Freeman. It has various tales of love at various stage of life.


If  you choose to watch this movie, you must know that it is for adults. This is a late night treat so little ones do not hear the swearing or deal with some of the heavy situations such as death of a beloved wife, a cheating spouse, or a loud honestly abrasive former star making a comeback. I find myself rooting for most of the cast as some learn that love, actually, exists all around us.

Christmas carol, alastair simsBut I also want to see the 1951 Alistair Sims classic rendition of A Christmas Carol. Hear we see the classic tale in one of the best versions of the tale of a bitter old man who is visited by three Christmas ghosts who’s goal is the change the miser’s fate. It is filled with sweet memories and ones filled with tears. We see a man unrepentant about a life held back until he is filled joy.

This is one that can easily be watched by all family members although maybe not so much by the younger members. Truth be told, they are going to want to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. I remember how we had to plan to watch that TV special but thanks to DVD or streaming serviCharlie Brown Christmasces, we can watch it anytime.

We can see Charlie Brown try to direct a play filled with players concerned about their own parts. It takes a small little tree and the retelling of the Nativity for the cast to remember why they are here and what they are about to portray. Plus there is that great jazzy soundtrack. All of these movies show the hope of Christmas in one way or another. All of them display some sort of wonder.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And to all a good night.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past weekend we went to get our tree. It is a family tradition.

We pile in the car and head out to Cupola House Tree Farm on 3000 West Road. This year we took the dog who loved every moment of jumping around in the snow. The rest of us wandered around until we found the perfect tree, a blue spruce.

After getting the tree, we stopped at my mother’s to shovel off her drive from all of this snow. And then we came home before more snow began to fall. While my daughter made cookies, I put on the lights and the multitude of ornaments collected over the years.

christmas-tree-farms- christmasgeek com

Image from Christmasgeek.com

I have various soldiers, and musical instruments and angels. There are lots of angels and snow men. But as I looked around it seemed as if I am missing a large box of decorations. This means an extensive search in the basement must be done and I am not looking forward to doing that.

In the mean time, I am looking at our tree and feeling happy with it. That is until I realize that a certain ornament would hang better if it was in a different spot. And one I do that, five other ornaments will have to be moved to make everything fit together again. This will happen every day until we take down the Christmas tree. Am I the only one who does this?

Perhaps I should by some tinsel so that I stop the foolishness. But I don’t think they sell tinsel anymore, I never see it in the stores when I go looking for it.

Listening to the radio, I heard a segment about the top ten Christmas movies. White Christmas was not on the list. A classic movie but somehow that didn’t surprise me. The people who know and love Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are decreasing every year.

christmas-carolThe other missing movie which surprised me the most was A Christmas Carol. Maybe I am old fashioned but I love this old tale by Charles Dickens. There are several versions and every few years someone feels the need to recreate it. Bill Murray did a comedic version. George C. Scott made one in the 90s. My personal favorite is the Alastair Sims 1951 edition.

In case you do not know the story, a very rich but miserly man is visited by the ghost of his former partner. He is told to expect three ghosts that might to help his examine his life. After that he will have a choice to make: to continue life as it is and suffer through the after life or change his ways to be better. Can this man, after a lifetime of coldness, learn to warm his heart?

Well, you might know the answer if you have seen this movie. You might know the answer if you have had to question your own actions. Is it better to be a miser or to give with a willing heart?

As Christmas comes nearer, I know what I wish to be and to do.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?


Resolution towards Redemption

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


In this week before the end of the year and after Christmas, some people take a look at their life and decide how to change it.


I feel it especially strong as my birthday is on this week. I think about the past year and wonder what can I do to make things better in my life, make my life what one could call ‘worthy.’ Being the best at making sure the couch does not run away is not my life’s goal.


Perhaps that is why it is interesting to me that two of the most beloved Christmas stories –  It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are really about redemption, appreciation and making a change in one’s life.


These stories feature men who learn through visitations from other-worldly beings that there are things in life that matter, that how they interact with people matters. Scrooge sees how his bitterness will cause his afterlife to be one of harder work than his life while George Bailey sees how his community would look without his presence.  


Because of these experiences, Scrooge and George see the sweeter side of life. They find a renewed appreciation for those who love and work for them. These are the stories that make our hearts swell.


Usually at this time of year I recommend Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard as a woman who kicks her drug habit and becomes a better person after her mother forces her to move in with family in a Southern state. I love the multi-generational story, I love how the characters grow. I especially love the significance of the silver candelabra. It is a feel-good story on so many levels that features good acting from all of its players.


Another movie I have been thinking about in regards to redemption is 50 First Dates. I know what you are thinking, how can an Adam Sandler movie be about redemption? I think Adam Sandler could be one of the greats of our time if his fans did not always expect stupid comedies from him but that is another discussion for another day.


This movie is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful girl – Drew Barrymore. The problem is she has no short term memory because of a car accident. She remembers the day of the accident before the crash occurred and relives that day – everyday. Sandler figures out a way to get her up to speed every morning. In doing so, Sandler shows that while his character is a jerk most of the time, for the right person he is willing to change and be better.


None of these movies are suited for the smaller members of the house because, contextually, they deal with grown-up themes. However, a movie about redemption that is great for the younger children is Kung Fu Panda starring Jack Black.


No one believes that a panda can be the ‘Dragon Warrior,’ the ultimate Kung Fu warrior. Only one person sees his potential beyond being a great noodle maker. And yet when the time comes to fight a great enemy, the panda finds it within himself to do it. He finds the secret ingredient. Our family loves this movie and laugh with it every time we watch it.


Happy New Year and good luck on your new year’s resolutions.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.